Shetland Black

Seven uncooked unpeeled Shetland Black potatoes on a checked cloth background

Shetland Black is a dark purple heritage variety of potato.[1] It comes from the Shetland Islands[2] and was developed in the Victorian era. It grows about two and a half feet tall,[3] and is shallow rooted and thus suitable for container growing. The potato is suitable for roasting, baking or steaming. The potato is fairly small compared with modern cultivars, and when sliced had a purple ring near the edge.[4] Once cooked it has a fluffy floury texture.[5]

Its color derives from the presence of two pigments, peonidin and petunidin, which make up 52% and 38% of the total pigments, respectively.[6]

While popular lore has it that the potato came to the British Isles by way of a stranded Spanish Armada ship, but because it matures early in the season that provenance is disproven.[7]


  1. Kapoor, Sybil (2013). The Great British Vegetable Cookbook. Pavilion. p. 382. ISBN 9781909881051.
  2. Stocks, Christopher (2009). Forgotten Fruits: The stories behind Britain's traditional fruit and vegetables. Random House. p. 186. ISBN 9781409061977.
  3. Synopsis of the vegetable products of Scotland in the museum of the Royal botanic gardens of Kew. Peter Lawson & Son. 1852. p. 47.
  4. Devine, Cate (17 September 2010). "A guide to Scotland's potato varieties". The List. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  5. Cloake, Felicity (2011). Perfect: 68 Essential Recipes for Every Cook's Repertoire. Penguin. p. 117. ISBN 9780141971650.
  6. Singh, Jaspreet; Kaur, Lovedeep (2016). Advances in Potato Chemistry and Technology. Elsevier Science. p. 263. ISBN 9780128005767.
  7. Hirst, Christopher (22 January 2009). "Potato recipes: Chips off the old block". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 June 2016.

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